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She Stitched the Stars: A Story of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt

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In 1876 Ellen Harding Baker began stitching an extraordinary quilt, one that accurately depicted our solar system. Ellen, a Iowa storekeeper's wife and a mother, had a curiosity that reached far beyond the stratosphere. Today the quilt hangs in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This lyrical story imagines the creation of the quilt from the perspective In 1876 Ellen Harding Baker began stitching an extraordinary quilt, one that accurately depicted our solar system. Ellen, a Iowa storekeeper's wife and a mother, had a curiosity that reached far beyond the stratosphere. Today the quilt hangs in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This lyrical story imagines the creation of the quilt from the perspective of Ellen's daughters, who, like their mother, lived in a time when girls and women were expected to limit their pursuit of knowledge, and who may have been inspired to dream bigger and look farther.


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In 1876 Ellen Harding Baker began stitching an extraordinary quilt, one that accurately depicted our solar system. Ellen, a Iowa storekeeper's wife and a mother, had a curiosity that reached far beyond the stratosphere. Today the quilt hangs in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This lyrical story imagines the creation of the quilt from the perspective In 1876 Ellen Harding Baker began stitching an extraordinary quilt, one that accurately depicted our solar system. Ellen, a Iowa storekeeper's wife and a mother, had a curiosity that reached far beyond the stratosphere. Today the quilt hangs in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This lyrical story imagines the creation of the quilt from the perspective of Ellen's daughters, who, like their mother, lived in a time when girls and women were expected to limit their pursuit of knowledge, and who may have been inspired to dream bigger and look farther.

30 review for She Stitched the Stars: A Story of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt

  1. 4 out of 5

    BookDrunkard

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss. I must confess, I'd not heard of Baker before, but the cover was so pretty, I decided to give it a chance. I highly recommend it for children interested in space. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss. I must confess, I'd not heard of Baker before, but the cover was so pretty, I decided to give it a chance. I highly recommend it for children interested in space.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    She Stitched the Stars: A Story of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt is a children's picture book written by Jennifer Harris and illustrated by Louise Pigott. It is an imagined history of a unique creation and its creators. Ellen Harding Baker was an American astronomer and a teacher. She is known for her Solar System Quilt, used as a teaching aid in her lectures on astronomy. Harris' text is rather simplistic, straightforward, informative, and lyrical. The lyrical text imagines the story a She Stitched the Stars: A Story of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt is a children's picture book written by Jennifer Harris and illustrated by Louise Pigott. It is an imagined history of a unique creation and its creators. Ellen Harding Baker was an American astronomer and a teacher. She is known for her Solar System Quilt, used as a teaching aid in her lectures on astronomy. Harris' text is rather simplistic, straightforward, informative, and lyrical. The lyrical text imagines the story about the creation of the Solar System Quilt as told by one of Baker’s daughters. Backmatter includes an author’s note. Pigott's warm illustrations are brimming with nature and filled with quiet energy. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. In 1876, Ellen Harding Baker began a visual depiction of the solar system in the form of a quilt that now has a home in the National Museum of American History. However, this was a time when women were told to focus on domestic chores - not science. Overall, this lively portrayal of the girls and their mother sparkles with curiosity and joy as they learn while doing household chores while making the quilt in their spare time. All in all, She Stitched the Stars: A Story of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt is an engaging inquiry into the lives of everyday girls who are limited by historical circumstance but yearn for more.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is a fantastic piece of reimagined history, telling the story of a quilt that is on display in Washington’s Smithsonian museum, and of the forgotten woman, Ellen Harding, who created it. For a busy wife and mother to have the time to create this quilt is singular in itself, but for the wife of a shopkeeper in rural America to have access to (and interest in) the scientific knowledge needed to recreate the solar system in quilt form, is notable. It’s a lovely book – written for children, but This is a fantastic piece of reimagined history, telling the story of a quilt that is on display in Washington’s Smithsonian museum, and of the forgotten woman, Ellen Harding, who created it. For a busy wife and mother to have the time to create this quilt is singular in itself, but for the wife of a shopkeeper in rural America to have access to (and interest in) the scientific knowledge needed to recreate the solar system in quilt form, is notable. It’s a lovely book – written for children, but certainly enjoyed by this adult. I love the fact that a “woman’s” historic medium – quilting – was used to interpret and represent science at a time when it was largely a field just for men. A wonderful book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    I received an electronic ARC from Albert Whitman & Company through Edelweiss+. Part of the She Made History series. Harris imagines Harding Baker's story from her daughters' perspective. Readers see them tell about their life together. In an era when girls and women were not encouraged to learn beyond the basics, these three were allowed to explore and grow as they chose. They learned what they could about the solar system and helped their mom create the quilt which now hangs in the Smithsonian Na I received an electronic ARC from Albert Whitman & Company through Edelweiss+. Part of the She Made History series. Harris imagines Harding Baker's story from her daughters' perspective. Readers see them tell about their life together. In an era when girls and women were not encouraged to learn beyond the basics, these three were allowed to explore and grow as they chose. They learned what they could about the solar system and helped their mom create the quilt which now hangs in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The illustrations support the text and capture the energy and enthusiasm as these young women grew up. Informative text is included at the end of the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aimée Bissonette

    Beautifully written story about Ellen Harding Baker (whose “don’ts are invitations” – what a great line!) and the quilt she painstakingly stitched. The constellations in the night sky are portrayed in ways that encourage young readers to look to the sky and learn. The creation of the quilt by the mother and daughters invites questions about math, the solar system, and mythology. So much information for young readers and so dreamy. Love it!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine Evans

    I love quilts and I love women in STEM so this picture book is the perfect combination of both! In this lyrical story, the author constructs an imagined story of how Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt came to be. I love this line "Could this be us someday?". As that is what we wants kids to ask when they read books about people from history doing extraordinary and unconventional things: could this be us? An inspirational read! I love quilts and I love women in STEM so this picture book is the perfect combination of both! In this lyrical story, the author constructs an imagined story of how Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt came to be. I love this line "Could this be us someday?". As that is what we wants kids to ask when they read books about people from history doing extraordinary and unconventional things: could this be us? An inspirational read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charles Beyl

    “If you’re going to dawdle, make sure it’s for a good reason.” This one line captures the essence of this delightful, non-fiction illumination of Ellen Harding Baker’s life and how she used her intellectual spirit and craft to inspire her children to explore their universe. Naturalists, astronomers and explorers of all ages will love this exquisitely written and illustrated story of this 19th century woman’s contributions to her time and ours.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Songju Daemicke

    She stitched the Star is a delightful STEM bio book. With colorful and detailed illustrations, the author beautifully tells the story of Ellen Harding Baker’s work on the Solar System Quilt and her passion for science. Encouraging children to pursue knowledge was her admirable goal. A great book to inspire future scientists, especially future women scientists. I highly recommend this fascinating book for any home, classroom, or library!

  9. 4 out of 5

    S.K. Wenger

    A delightful story about a mother who encourages her children to see the world differently than what societal norms at the time dictated, and a story that shows young readers how to do the same. I highly recommend this fascinating and beautifully illustrated story for any home, classroom, or library collection. Thank you to Albert Whitman for allowing me a sneak peek at this wonderful book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maryann Cocca-Leffler

    In 1876 women did not have the educational opportunities men had, but that did not stop Ellen Harding Baker from studying the solar system and stars. Her passion resulted in a quilt of the solar system and stars which hangs in the Smithsonian. A wonderful book for home or classroom.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Grover

    Dream big and ask questions. This is the story of Ellen Harding Baker, the woman who stitched a quilt of the solar system at a time when women were not allowed to be curios or study science. Her work is hanging in the Smithsonian. Hopefully, this book will continue to inspire our students.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jo Oehrlein

    The story of a quilt that was designed to accurately show things about the solar system from a time when most women weren't even educated. Love the combo of stitching/quilting and science. The story of a quilt that was designed to accurately show things about the solar system from a time when most women weren't even educated. Love the combo of stitching/quilting and science.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Lovely fictionalized story behind a fabulous piece of art!

  14. 5 out of 5

    A

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ayesha Altaher

  16. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caralen

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Bell

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kim Campbell

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  22. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shigi

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Wright Oelkers

  27. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

  28. 5 out of 5

    =^.^= Janet

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Teresa

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

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